Ivan Turgenev

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Ivan Turgenev

Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev (Russian: Ива́н Серге́евич Турге́нев IPA: [ɪˈvan sʲɪrˈgʲeɪvʲɪtɕ turˈgʲenʲɪf]) (November 9 [O.S. October 28 1818September 3 [O.S. August 22] 1883) was a Russian novelist and playwright. His novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century fiction.


Father and Sons (1862)[edit]

Translated by Richard Hare. Full text here

  • "Naturally," observed Nikolai Petrovich, "you were born here, so everything is bound to strike you with a special —"

    "Really, Daddy, it makes absolutely no difference where a person is born."

    "Still —"

    "No, it makes no difference at all."

    • Ch. 3.
  • "What is Bazarov?" Arkady smiled. "Would you like me to tell you, uncle, what he really is?"

    "Please do, nephew."

    "He is a nihilist!"

    "What?" asked Nikolai Petrovich, while Pavel Petrovich lifted his knife in the air with a small piece of butter on the tip and remained motionless.

    "He is a nihilist," repeated Arkady.

    "A nihilist," said Nikolai Petrovich. "That comes from the Latin nihil, nothing, as far as I can judge; the word must mean a man who... who recognizes nothing?"

    "Say — who respects nothing," interposed Pavel Petrovich and lowered his knife with the butter on it.

    "Who regards everything from the critical point of view," said Arkady.

    "Isn't that exactly the same thing?" asked Pavel Petrovich.

    "No, it's not the same thing. A nihilist is a person who does not bow down to any authority, who does not accept any principle on faith, however much that principle may be revered."

    "Well, and is that good?" asked Pavel Petrovich. "That depends, uncle dear. For some it is good, for others very bad."

    "Indeed. Well, I see that's not in our line. We old-fashioned people think that without principles, taken as you say on faith, one can't take a step or even breathe. Vous avez changé tout cela; may God grant you health and a general's rank, and we shall be content to look on and admire your... what was the name?"

    "Nihilists," said Arkady, pronouncing very distinctly.

    "Yes, there used to be Hegelists and now there are nihilists. We shall see how you will manage to exist in the empty airless void; and now ring, please, brother Nikolai, it's time for me to drink my cocoa."

    • Ch. 5.
  • "For myself, I detest the fellow, and think him a charlatan. I am certain that, in spite of his frogs, he is making no real progress in physics."
    • Ch. 10.
  • Bazarov drew himself up haughtily. "I don't adopt any one's ideas; I have my own."
    • Ch. 13.

On the Eve (1860)[edit]

Translated by Constance Garnett. Full text here

  • 'There was a time,' Nikolai Artemyevitch resumed, 'when daughters did not allow themselves to look down on their parents—when the parental authority forced the disobedient to tremble. That time has passed, unhappily: so at least many persons imagine; but let me tell you, there are still laws which do not permit—do not permit—in fact there are still laws. I beg you to mark that: there are still laws——'
    • Ch. 30.

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